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Archive for August 2011

Cambodian, U.S. armies vow to intensify defense cooperation

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) — Senior defense officials of Cambodia and the United States of America on Monday pledged to intensify bilateral ties on military cooperation in the areas of peacekeeping, maritime security, humanitarian assistance, and counter-terrorism.

During a meeting with Neang Phat, Cambodia’s Secretary of State for Defense, the visiting Brigadier General Richard Simcock, Principal Director for South and Southeast Asia in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, said that the U.S. would continue to help Cambodia in the above-mentioned areas in order to build a stronger tie between the U.S. and Cambodian armies.

“The assistance of the U.S. Department of Defense to Cambodia would help to develop a professional force that contributes to regional and international peace and stability,” he said.

Meanwhile, Neang Phat said Cambodia and the U.S. military cooperation have been gradually improved and the U.S. Department of Defense has helped a lot in national defense.

“The visit of Brigadier General Richard Simcock in Cambodia will bring closer military cooperation between the two countries’ armies,” he said.

Simcock made his visit in Cambodia from Aug. 29 to 31 strengthen Cambodia-U.S. defense relationship, according to a press release from the U.S. embassy in Phnom Penh.

During the visit, he will participate in a defense ministry’s workshop in Sihanoukville to discuss the development of Cambodia’s maritime security strategy.

Yutthasak to visit Cambodia

Bangkokpost 30/8/2011

Defence Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa said on Monday he will soon visit Cambodia at the invitation of Cambodian counterpart Tea Banh for informal talks to lay the groundwork for the long delayed General Border Committee (GBC) meeting.

Gen Yutthasak said both Thailand and Cambodia were satisfied with the results of the Regional Border Committee (RBC) meeting in Nakhon Ratchasima on Aug 25, but the two sides had not reached any agreement.

Decisions were pending approval from the cabinet.

The Defence Ministry would compile a list of matters discussed at the RBC meeting and submit proposals to the National Security Council for consideration.

The NSC, chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, could then call a meeting of security agencies before forwarding recommendations to the cabinet for approval, he said.

“During this time I will make an unofficial visit to Cambodia at the invitation of Gen Tea Banh. 

“We will discuss adjustments to the deployment of combat units and arrangments for (Indonesian) observers, in preparation for the GBC meeting. 

“Approval of issues discussed would then be sought from the cabinet,” Gen Yutthasak said.

Defence spokesman Col Thanathip Sawangsaeng said  Gen Yutthasak would pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Hun Sen in Phnom Penh and might also seek an audience with King Sihamoni.

He did not say when the visit would take place.

Col Thanathip said in about two weeks  Gen Yutthasak would invite Ms Yingluck to attend an NSC meeting to lay down a framework for the GBC meeting.

Issues to be discussed at the GBC meeting would then be forwarded to the cabinet and then parliament for approval and to give the defence minister the authority to represent Thailand.

Gen Yutthasak would also hold a meetings in rotation with the Defence, Interior and Foreign Affairs ministries to discuss problems relating to illegal drugs, the southern border provinces and deployment of officials, troops and equipment to help flood-hit people, he said.

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Written by Kham

30/08/2011 at 5:03 pm

Monkeys see Monkeys do as Hun Sen learned from Grand-master SOK ANH

Op-ed by Khamerlogue 28-8-2011

Cambodian Royal Government under the Primate Hun Sen for the last 15 years. Beware of the Chinese old sage saying,¨watch for the snake in the grass”

Op-ed by Khamerlogue 28/8/2011
originally posted at www.khamerlogue.wordpress.com

Who’s the snake in the grass?

Even the opponent of the ruling party has expressed concerns over and over whether the bundle of cash that would come from the oil and mine exploration and refinery would end in who´s bank accounts?

Sok Anh, was dubbed as the lord of destruction and creation with eight arms, has been very quiet lately as scrutiny from his rivals in government increased on how the cash from mine and oil will be handled. The Cambodian National Petroleum Authority is under Sok Anh watch and discretion.

A shrewd and cunning of Sino-Viet parentage, Sok Anh, worked as a staff with a meager rations and limited perks at first in the foreign ministry under Hun Sen. Now he is honored as Hun Sen grand teacher of corruption and people exploitation then turned to the most favorite relative as their kids married one another. Not long after that all the important posts in the government were put under his discretionary acts.

Presently Sok Anh assets are worth, if not in billion, but several hundreds of millions in US currency. He owns thousands of hectare of land across the country. He is one of the wealthiest ministers in RGC. He does not need the government salary from Hun Sen to live on and but still be able to get luxurious and plentiful lifestyle. Imagine he soon to be the head of the delegation and member of the APEC club.

Note in every important delegation in dealing with the foreign countries were not assigned to Hor Nam Hong but Sok Anh, himself.

Every piece of deals with foreigners and prime properties concession in the country, Sok Anh has his hands on all. Every minister must kow tow to Sok Anh demand if they wanted to stay in the job. Tremendous power that most people did not realize it was Sok Anh who was running the government and country, not the silly goose Hun Sen who liked to run his mouth before the microphone on stage. Sok Anh is the tallest tree and the wood for Cambodia government now.

Very few knew that Sok Anh and his relative Hun Sen has a share of ownership of the sprawling Koh Pich where over 400 spectators were killed in stampede during Cambodian royal annual water festival in November 2010. In sympathy, tons of donation from friendly nations and people of Cambodia origins sent in to assist the victims or survivor families alike. All the owners of the Koh Pich Bridge and locality were not liable or prosecuted for the cause of accident. None of them gave anything but lip services. Also the security forces, assigned to duty on the site, none of them were investigated.

On top of the widespread insult to people intelligence, the Mayor of Phnom Penh municipality Kep Chutama was pardoned and praised for his negligence for public security and safety. The classified order was issued, in secrecy, from the office of the Chief of the Council of Ministers Sok Anh that further investigation was unnecessary. It must let it be the people not the current government fault. This was the exact excuse that Hun Sen had used while shedding his crocodile tears in public to save his Grand-master’s neck.

Here, what we don’t know is how Hun Sen and Sok Anh divide up the share of revenue coming from oil and land lease to Yuon or foreign companies investing in rubber cultivation or mines in Cambodia.

Many speculated and believed that, let’s knock on wood, in the event that Hun Sen was incapacitated or unexpectedly dropped dead the entire country future and government would likely fall in Sok Anh’s long planned scheme.

No less than 97% already saw Sok Anh as the heir apparent to take the premiership. In return as soon as Hun Sen’s elder son, Hun Manet, was mature in politique and ready for the role of the premier by then a new arrangement would be passed on.

To date Hun Sen dared not to question Sok Anh secret caveats from dealing with foreign investors. He is no more than a cutting board for all Sok Anh cookings. In all accounts, the most powerful and richest person in the wandering Kingdom is not Hun Sen but Sok Anh.

Other hand Tea Banh or Sar Kheng is no match in wit and shrewdness to wrestle power from Sok Anh. For now each of the duos has no chance to be the premier as long as they are still listening to Hun Sen whose directions were the disguises and manipulated orders from Sok Anh.

For sure, many in government agree that Sok Anh will not think twice in taking Hun Sen place if the ruling party turned on him. Also a lot of people fell for it that the thug General Hok Lundy was killed by the lightning. But in fact, none suspected that it was Sok Anh who planned and plotted to rid of Hok Lundy who might become his arch contender and jeopardy in his future power grab.

Remember the Coup and random killing in July 1997 wasn’t entirely Hok Lundy doing alone but Sok Anh too. Spun off from the internal rift between Hok Lundy and Heng Pov, Hun Sen reputation was in jeopardy in the long run if when people would have known the truth and rise up against his dictatorial regime.

To avoid further liabilities and consequences, Sok Anh ordered Hun Sen to signal green light with provision of deadly missile to Sok Anh’s hit men to execute the incredible and personal mission. There then boom it went, General Hok  Lundy was dead and shred to unrecognizable pieces scattering on the farming plot. No forensic investigation or pursuit of criminal acts on Hun Sen or Sok Anh’s responsibility. Unlucky General Heng Pov had fell as a black sheep in spitting truth about his rivalry and criminal bosses.

Clearly in future political move, as soon as Chea Sim disappeared from political scene and inner party control, neither Sar Kheng who most favorable to US or friendly countries support nor Ke Kim Yan’s clique with accomplice Nhek Bun Chhay participation would have chances.

Sok Anh is buying friendship on his way to be the next vice chairman in waiting for the CPP most intimate and powerful Permanent Standing Committee.

Other hand if Hun Sen would still be alive and live to be the next Chairman of the CPP then Sok Anh would ,indeed, automatically get all of his plans to sell Cambodia for more cash in full fledge. In the end the expansionist Yuons or corruption will not leave Cambodia for sure.

Man of the hour for change in the CPP and future Cambodia political landscape will not be anyone else but His Excellency Sok Anh, alone.  That is who’s the snake in the grass, for sure, not just for the CPP but for all citizens.

The race to bag cultural icons…how about the Chinese conjoint twin called Siamese?

Bangkokpost 28-8-2011

Thailand risks being left behind as regional rivalry builds to list heritage items.

(By the way, where Kapik originated from and why not included the royal usurper who killed own brother to steal the throne and branded self as Dharma king?)

The ownership of a graceful hand gesture that is part of traditional dance and shadow plays is causing new tensions between Thailand and Cambodia.

This cat originated from old Khmer provine Nokor Reach as Siamese called Khorat

Both countries lay claim to ownership of the jeeb _ a hand position where the thumb touches the index finger and the three other fingers are splayed out.

In 2008, Cambodia persuaded Unesco to include Khmer shadow theatre on a list of intangible cultural heritage items. The hand gesture is part of the dance.

Thailand, however, has yet to ratify the convention allowing it to submit cultural heritage items to Unesco for contention as official intangible cultural items. A Unesco listing results in international recognition from the item, and funding to help preserve it.

Culture Minister Sukumol Khunploem downplayed reports that Cambodia had ”stolen” a Thai cultural icon.

She said a Unesco listing has nothing to do with intellectual property or copyright issues.

”It is normal for countries in the same region to share similar cultural traits,” she said.

Nonetheless, some academics are worried Thailand could be left behind in the race to register cultural items, as tourist earnings and funds for preservation are at stake.

They say that if anything can help save intangible cultural heritage items, it is an inscription by Unesco.

Thailand is drawing up its own list of intangible treasures, which it can submit to Unesco once it has ratified the treaty governing such inscriptions. A list started by the Cultural Promotion Department in 2009 now has 50 intangible heritage items, including the Thai Shadow Puppet Theatre.

Another 30 items, including famed spicy Thai soup of tom yum kung, Thai-style kites and banana stalk carvings are likely to join them.

Apinan Poshyananda, director-general of the department, said Thailand needs to tell people what these treasures are and why they are important.

”We must be able to explain these to ourselves before entering the race for registration,” said Mr Apinan.

Intangible heritage items are based on tradition or, as Unesco puts it, are living expressions inherited from ancestors and passed on to successors.

These include oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts, and even knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, its website notes.

Unesco says intangible heritage helps maintain cultural diversity in the face of growing globalisation.

”An understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with inter-cultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life,” it says.

”The importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next,” said Unesco.

Since 2003, when the Convention for Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage came into effect, Unesco has listed 16 intangible heritage items in need of urgent safeguarding, and 213 items of intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

A Unesco listing results in intangible heritage items gaining international attention.

Resources to help support preservation work usually flow to those countries where the items are based.

However, some officials regard the process of submitting items for recognition as a ”race”, as Unesco does not approve all applications put to it.

Cambodia’s Royal Ballet and Khmer shadow theatre, or sbek thom, are among intangible cultural heritage of humanity items recognised by Unesco.

Some scholars are worried Unesco’s listing of the Cambodian items could deprive Thailand of the right to list similar treasures including Thai shadow play, or nang yai.

Mr Apinan said countries can apply to lodge items which are similar, even if not all are successful in gaining a listing.

Mr Apinan said cultural heritage can cross national borders. Countries in Southeast Asia have shared cultural traits, which explains why Khmer shadow theatre might look like Thai shadow play. Each heritage item evolves with different details that define its value, so has its own qualities to compete for a listing.

Cambodia’s sbek Thom, Thailand’s nang yai, and Indonesia’s Wanyang puppet theatre, for instance, were influenced by Indian tradition, but have over time evolved to have their own gestures and movements.

”We need to be open-minded as we do not suffer any disadvantage. We can always propose our own intangible heritage item,” said Mr Apinan.

But Thailand cannot nominate items for a Unesco listing because it has yet to ratify the convention.

The Culture Ministry is preparing papers for the cabinet and parliament to allow the country to join the convention.

The ministry has also drafted legislation to help safeguard the country’s intangible heritage.

Under the bill, a national committee for safeguarding intangible heritage treasures will be created, and a fund set up to support the work.

The department has allocated a budget to help safeguard local treasures. Each province gets only 40,000 baht.

State agencies have to find other ways to raise funding, including organising cultural fairs.

”Intangible heritage is actually the world’s heritage. We should try to preserve it,” said Mr Apinan.

Phrakhru Phitaksilapakhom, an abbot of Wat Khanon in Ratchaburi province, where Thai Nang Yai Puppet Drama is based, and which won a Unesco award for safeguarding intangible heritage in 2007, said a Unesco listing would help the world recognise the treasure.

However, local people can help sustainable cultural preservation even more, he says.

Intangible heritage is prone to degradation and could become extinct without efforts by local people to preserve it.

”If people know about their culture, they will appreciate it and want to preserve it naturally.

”It cannot be done merely by listing it in reports,” said the abbot, who has opened a community centre to pass on knowledge of the Shadow Puppet Drama to young people.

ITEMS ON LAST YEAR’S POPULAR THAI INTANGIBLE HERITAGE LIST

1. Muay Thai boxing

2. Guide-books about Thai cats

3. Thai numbers guide-books

4. Spirit chanting books for Thai buffaloes

5. Spirit chanting books for rice

6. Spirit chanting books for ordaining monks

7. The Khun Chang Khun Phan folk tale

8. The Sri Thanon Chai folk tale

9. Buddha sculpturing

10. Likay musical folk drama

 

World Bank: Thailand Now an Upper Middle Income Economy…Hun Sen’s win-wind rectangular policy will put Cambodia in hell soon

Bangcock,the city of angels walk the street around the clock with smiling face at tourists

BANGKOK, July 2011–The World Bank has upgraded Thailand’s income categorization from a lower-middle income economy to an upper-middle income economy this year.

The World Bank annually revises its classification of the world’s economies based on gross national income (GNI) per capita estimates using the Atlas method. As of July 1, 2011, upper-middle-income economies are those with average incomes of US$3,976 to US$12,275. Using the Atlas method, Thailand’s GNI per capita is currently at US$4,210.

World Bank Senior Economist Kirida Bhaopichitr says: “The upgrade is in recognition of Thailand’s economic achievements in the past decade in which GNI per capita has almost doubled, while poverty has been significantly reduced. The country has been prudent in macroeconomic management with a strong fiscal stance and low public debts and inflation. Thailand has a friendly business environment and has been successful in attracting foreign direct investments and achieving greater diversification in manufacturing production, both in terms of higher value-added production and expansion into new emerging export markets.

“These achievements were reflected in the resiliency of the Thai economy to the recent global financial crisis, which now place Thailand in a position of opportunity to pursue stronger ties to both ASEAN and the world,” says Bhaopichitr, “For Thailand to sustain its growth and avoid the middle income trap, it needs to pay attention to raising the productivity of not only the manufacturing, but also the agriculture and services sectors. Higher levels of education and skills as well as creativity, innovation, and competition will be necessary. These would not only promote higher growth but also inclusive growth which will help reduce the persistent high income inequality in Thailand”.

The new listing of all economies included in the World Bank’s databases, their regional and income classifications, and the explanation of the Atlas methodology can be found at: http://data.worldbank.org/about/country-classifications/country-and-lending-groups

Vietnam hero General Giap turns 100

General Vo Nguyen Giap, the gooks' hero in Viet expansion wars,turned 100

25-8-2011(AFP)—General Vo Nguyen Giap, a hero of the Vietnamese revolution and considered one of history’s greatest military strategists, quietly marked his 100th birthday on Thursday in a Hanoi military hospital.

Giap shocked the world with his peasant army’s victory over French colonial forces at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, a success critical in Vietnam’s emergence as an independent nation, which ended French rule in Indochina.

“He’s a mythic, heroic figure for Vietnam”, said Carl Thayer, an Australia-based scholar of the country.

Giap is second only to late founding father Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s most revered figure, in the nation’s affections.

Thayer called Giap the country’s “last legitimate hero”, whose victories the ruling communists see as providing a nationalist foundation for their rule.

“They cannot rubbish General Giap,” said Thayer, explaining that he is revered “because he is part of their narrative”.

Born on August 25, 1911 in central Quang Binh province, Giap was not formally trained as a soldier but studied law and political economy before joining Ho in the liberation fight.

Giap’s Maoist-inspired guerrilla tactics stressed the need for popular support, the value of hit-and-run attacks, and the will to fight a drawn-out war — methods that were to prove crucial in the war against US and South Vietnamese forces.

His greatest triumph will always be the Dien Bien Phu victory, based on an astounding logistical feat by his Viet Minh fighters, who surprised the French by hauling their artillery into surrounding jungle hills from where they pounded enemy positions below.

“It was the first great defeat for the West,” Giap said.

For two decades after Dien Bien Phu, Giap continued to command his forces as they battled American troops and their surrogate regime in South Vietnam until final victory on April 30, 1975.

His guerrilla tactics inspired fighters worldwide but others have pointed to the tremendous human toll Giap was willing to incur in the liberation struggle, which left millions of Vietnamese dead.

He was pushed to the political sidelines in post-war Vietnam and was eased out of the ruling Politburo in 1982, but he continued to raise his voice on issues of concern.

In 2006 he wrote that the Communist Party had “become a shield for corrupt officials”, and an open letter he issued two years ago added to widespread public criticism of government plans for bauxite mining.

His fighting spirit also continues to motivate Vietnamese people.

When nationalist demonstrators took to the streets of Hanoi in recent weeks for rare protests against China’s actions in disputed South China Sea waters, they carried pictures of Giap, his fist raised.

Vietnamese count birthdays according to the lunar calendar, which adds one year and means that Giap marked his centenary last year, when state-controlled media wished him “happy 100th”.

Now they are doing it again, taking a second opportunity to celebrate the legendary figure.

The country’s top leaders visited Giap on Wednesday, bringing flowers and “the affection and reverence of the whole nation”, official media reported, without mentioning that Giap is in hospital, where he has been for a number of months.

Giap’s visitors included Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and President Truong Tan Sang.

One of Giap’s sons, Vo Dien Bien, earlier told AFP that celebrations would be “very simple”, with family members joining Giap at Army Hospital 108. Giap visited his wounded soldiers at the same hospital during the Vietnam War against the United States.

Bien described his father’s health as “stable”.

“We might say that the fame of comrade Vo Nguyen Giap and of his predecessor revolutionary veterans has become a symbol of the entire generation whom President Ho Chi Minh trained to establish and build a glorious era for the Vietnamese nation,” Trong, the Communist Party chief, wrote for an exhibition of photographs honouring Giap’s centenary.

The most recent pictures in the exhibition are dated 2008 and show a frail figure in a white military uniform.

Tributes have come from his own soldiers — and a former enemy.

“He’s a historic figure,” said US Senator Jim Webb, who fought against Giap’s forces during the Vietnam War. “I wish General Giap all the best.”

Written by Kham

26/08/2011 at 8:04 pm

Wikileaks website shows Washington’s meddling in Indonesian political events

JAKARTA, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) — The U.S. embassy’s documents related to political constellations in Indonesia in the last few years leaked by the Wikilekas website has buzzed national media in the last few days, showed U.S. government’s meddling in several political events in the country.

In total there were at least 1,860 diplomatic U.S. embassy cables on Indonesia leaked in the website that is popular for publishing secret policies and official documents that should not be exposed to the public.

Those documents were diplomatic cables on Indonesia issued by U.S. embassies in Jakarta, Singapore, Ottawa Canada and in Dili Timor Leste.

Those documents among others highlight Indonesia’s policies in addressing avian flu issue, terrorism eradication, former President Megawati Soekarnoputri’s statement related to Indonesia’ s stance on war in Iraq, the drafting of anti-pornography law and some scandalous cases during President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s administration.

One of the leaked documents showed the U.S. backing on a candidate in the election of Bengkulu province governor, Agusrin Najamuddin.

In a diplomatic cables issued by U.S. embassy in Jakarta on Jan. 30, 2006, it says that the U.S. regarded Najamuddin as a dedicated and full-of-energy candidate.

Najamuddin, who was 35 when he was running for gubernatorial post in Bengkulu province, was assumed of capable to overcome problems faced by the province.

Related to the support, the U.S. education agency of USAID came to Bengkulu province particularly to undertake studies in possible exploration on Bengkulu natural resources.

“The USAID explored the possibilities to tap natural resources and resources belonged to private enterprises for USAID projects,” the leaked document said.

Najamuddin, who managed to secure his gubernatorial post in the province until 2015 was survived from possible 20 years imprisonment prosecution after the judges acquitted him from his case in May this year.

Najamuddin was accused of embezzling 20.162 billion rupiah ( about 2.24 million U.S. dollars) from provincial revenue by transferring it into private bank accounts.

Prosecutors at the Central Jakarta District Court have charged him under the 1999 Anti-Corruption Law, which could see him face 20 years in prison and being fined 200 million rupiah if convicted.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been heavily criticized in a new batch of U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks mid this week.

The cables, which originated from the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, also criticize a number of senior officials that poorly demonstrating efforts to improve the nation’s justice system, particularly in regards to corruption.

In one cable sent in November of 2009, President Yudhoyono was criticized as failing to quell the growing and soon to be major crisis involving alleged attempts to bring down the government- sanctioned Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in the infamous cicak (gecko) versus buaya (alligator) scandal.

The cable said Yudhoyono, in response to the scandal and another involving the Bank Century case, had only provided authorities with “vague guidance” for the police and Attorney General’s Office.

“President Yudhoyono’s remarks left the public critical of his leadership and provided no clear end to these continuing issues,” the cable said.

Another batch of the released cables criticizes Indonesia’s corruption-fighting efforts, including “an overly rigid and dysfunctional relationship between prosecutors and police” that hinders many investigations.

No Indonesian government official has responded to the recent publication of the leaked documents by the Wikileaks so far.